Smoking Trees in Belize: December 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

1) Resolve to know when you’re past your prime.

2) Resolve not to hang out with people who all look alike.

3) Resolve not to live your entire waking life like this.

4) Resolve not to feel too bad for America’s homeless. Free Wi-Fi?

5) Resolve not to fall asleep first at a sausage party.

6) Resolve not to sport wood in public. Mesh shorts are very risky.

7) Resolve to abstain from facial tattooing. Hint: Do not pursue that which is both soluble and illegal.

8) Resolve to avoid excessive douchebaggery, in either version.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Blue Pill State

Next time you’re on I-95 in South Florida notice the amount of Kentucky license plates in your midst. Certainly Florida is popular tourist destination which would explain some of the Kentuckians, but many are here for OxyContin. The oral form of Oxycodone, OxyContin was approved by the FDA in 1995 and on the market the next year. By 2001 it was the highest selling pain killer. As the pill form proliferated, abuse began to take place. OxyContin is a synthetic opiate, meaning it is from the same family as codeine, heroin, and morphine. Oxys are now the preferred drug of choice for opiate seekers. Why do people come to Florida to get their Oxys? Because only in South Florida can you find “doctors” who will prescribe obscene doses of pain killers without any examination, medical records, or x-rays. Florida does not have a statewide database or monitoring system so unscrupulous doctors have found their cash cow.

These “pill mills” are most often found in strip malls in Broward and Dade counties. Hastily put together offices often have long lines of pill heads, security detail to deter robbers, and take cash only. The doctors writes a prescription for whatever is ordered and provides an accomplice pharmacy to carry out the scheme. Thousands flock to Florida to doctor shop because of the lax practices. A scary fact? According to Florida Representative Kelly Skidmore, “of the top 50 dispensing physicians of Oxycodone in the entire country, all 50 are in Florida.”

Click on movie poster to watch on Youtube

This fall Vanguard aired the documentary “The OxyContin Express,” which highlighted the growing problem. In the film journalist Mariana van Zeller tracks an addict, takes a ride on the OxyContin Express, and follows the cops in a bust. The OxyContin Express documentary got its name from the OxyContin Express plane trip from Huntington, West Virginia to Ft. Lauderdale. The Huntington airport is the closest airport for many in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The narco-tourist can traffic their drugs back home in carry-on without a care in the world. The documentary highlights the problem law enforcement faces. Since the prescriptions are legal on paper, the cops can only bust the addicts selling off parts of their supply to stay solvent. Their effort is fruitless since according to Wikipedia, “The International Narcotics Control Board estimates that 11.5 tons of oxycodone were manufactured worldwide in 1998, which grew to 75.2 tons in 2007.” With doctors dispensing thousands of pills a day across South Florida the epidemic will grow unchecked until the doctors and pharmacists are targeted by law enforcement. Compared to the other hopeless battles against marijuana and cocaine, this is a war on drugs that can be won. Shut down the supply by closing the pill mills, and stripping the doctor’s of their licenses. Implement a statewide monitoring system tracking the doctors and patients. Without shady doctors the OxyContin Express has no destination.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Inked State Pride, Second Edition

Last month STiB unveiled several fans of the Sunshine State that professed their allegiance in ink. Most notable was Jeffrey Britt with his legal history alongside an outline of the state. This month offers a few more Floridians proud of their state along with a duo of Spring Breakers that took it way too far.

Rapper Flo Rida from Carol City, Florida

“Welcome to Flawda This Ain’t No Tourist Attraction”

Someone’s heart is in Ocala

A detailed coastline with pink flamingos?

The worst Spring Break mistake you could make other than ending up with a kid in December.

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009… two years away from the end of time according to the Mayan calendar. Dec. 21, 2012 is when the Maya’s “Long Count” calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era. Lately Nostradamus fans have come out of the woodwork and predicted an apocalypse. The blockbuster movie “2012” is just the beginning, your local Barnes and Noble has a half dozen books on the prediction. Perhaps it’s not the end of the world, but rather the coming of the 100 years storm. Bohdi will be waiting.

Mayan beach house in Tulum, Mexico

Try again Oscar

In early December the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched it’s “12 Fugitives of Christmas” operation and on Saturday the first case was cracked. 30 years after he escaped from a Kissimmee work camp, Oscar Richardson was apprehended in Missouri.

According to the FDLE, “On January 28, 1977 Richardson held two Eckerd Drug employees at gunpoint and demanded money from the store safe. On March 1, 1977, he robbed a convenience store in Tampa, held the store clerk at gunpoint, and demanded she fill a bag with money. He fled the scene and was arrested minutes later and charged with robbery. Richardson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his crimes.” Now 61 years old, Richardson had been living under the alias, “Eugene Ward.” His 3 decades on the lam were accomplished by a simple name change, a doctored social security number, and avoiding getting arrested. He lived in the same house for 26 years and had settled down with a family. The arrest comes despite the not even close age progression photo. The AP reports that he is refusing to waive extradition, which means Missourri State prosecutors armed with Governor’s Warrant from Florida will have to prove to a Missouri judge that the man pictured above is indeed Oscar Richardson. Since the arrest date of 1977 means no DNA, the State will have to prove fingerprint matches in order to secure extradition.

If the FDLE did indeed nab their escaped crook, it will turn out to be a costly mistake for Oscar Richardson. A 10 year sentence in 1977 is much different than a 10 year sentence today. Beginning in October 1995 Florida inmates were required to serve at a minimum 85% of their sentence. Inmates in the 1970’s and ’80’s were serving between 40% and 60% of their sentences. Since Oscar hit the road 2 years into his sentence, he likely had at most 4 years left. Now he faces the 2nd degree felony charge of escape on top of being stripped of gain-time and having 8 years left on the original charges. The escape charge carries a maximum of 15 years and must be served after the original sentence is completed. Bad move Oscar, but there is hope. Incredulously a judge in Missouri granted him a bond which he promptly posted. Time for another escape.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 Weather Girl of the Year?

Italian Valentina Avanzi of Meteo 4

Elita Loresca of KNBC-TV Los Angeles

British Lara Lewington of Five News

Domenica Davis of Fox News

Jackie Johnson of KCBS-TV in Los Angeles

Mexicana Zelenny Ibarra of Canal 12

British Claire Nasir of GMTV
Stephanie Abrams of The Weather Channel

Irish Lisa Burke of SkyNews

Peruvian Mary Gamarra of Telemundo

Puerto Rican Jackie Guerrido of Univision

British Lucy Verasamy of SkyNews

Mexicana Mayte Carranco

Australian Natalia Cooper of Channel 7

British Jo Blythe of Yorkshire TV

Sean Taylor Murder Trial

The trial of the four men accused of second degree murder in the death of Sean Taylor is set for January 8, 2010. On November 26, 2007 Taylor was asleep in his home when the four young men broke into his Miami home and encountered a machete wielding Taylor. Shot in the femoral artery, the former Canes and Redskins star died the next day. The case has dragged on for two years in part due to an Venjah Hunte’s inability to make up his mind. In May of 2008 Hunte plead guilty to 2nd degree murder and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and in return receive 29 years in prison. That plea deal revealed a 5th suspect when 16 year old Timothy Brown was arrested. Only two weeks later Hunte changed his mind, fired his public defender and indicated he wanted to withdraw his plea. As of today his plea remains in place according to the Dade County Clerk Screen. The hearing set for January 26th will be a sentencing hearing if Hunte wishes to continue to cooperate under the terms of the plea deal. If he persists in his motion to withdraw the plea, he will likely be set for trial as judges often err on the side of permitting withdrawal of pleas prior to sentencing under Florida law.

Since Eric Rivera is the alleged gunman and a minor at 17, the State cannot seek the death penalty. Timothy Brown is the youngest at 16 and faces the punishable by life 2nd degree murder. Under Florida the law if the principal is not charged with a capital offense, the accomplices cannot be either. Thus Wardlow, Mitchell and Hunte are only eligible for life for their roles. There has been speculation that the trial will be pushed back again in January. According the the Dade County Clerk’s Screen, Wardlow seems to be doing all he can to delay the inevitable. Unhappy with his public defender, Wardlow filed a pro-se motion requesting a Nelson hearing in late August. A Nelson hearing is held when a defendant alleges his court-appointed counsel has been ineffective or a conflict of interest has arisen. The judge decides if the defendant has been prejudiced or harmed by counsel’s performance and if so a new attorney is appointed. So far Wardlow has been denied, but the multitude of complications involved in a 5 defendant murder trial will keep this case from opening in January.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Most Awkward Christmas Photo Ever

These two polar opposites have blessed this holiday season with the most awkward picture ever. The dweeb on the right is sporting the typical tacky Christmas sweater complete with teddy bear and a good dose of pizza chin. The recovering meth/smack head on the left appears to also be a former MS-13 member. I say former because for one, he’s not in prison, and two, Mara Salvatrucha is harcore to the bone and would never tolerate this soft pose. MS-13 is comprised of Central American gangsters that have spread from L.A. across North America. Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans, banded together against Mexican and Black gangs in the 1980’s and became leaders in the smuggling of drugs, guns and people across the border. Lately the Feds have responded with ICE raids and MS-13 has responded in kind. This photo is in the spirit of, but takes the lameness to another level.


In the theme of a prior post, this pic is an excellent example of a creative pose making an incredible photo.

Who’s got the better tailgating coeds?

Alabama and Texas are two programs with deep traditions and rabid fan bases. Fortunately that fanhood extends to the ladies. While the National Championship might be important to some, those of us with no direct rooting interest in the game prefer to size up the talent.



Friday, December 11, 2009

The 4 Point Stance Heisman Pose

With last week’s release of the five 2009 Heisman Trophy finalists the field is set for the weirdest finish in college football history. Since it’s inception in 1935 the winners have been exclusively from the offensive side of the ball with Charles Woodson as the only exception in 1997. More specifically the running backs and quarterbacks have each had periods of domination. From 1972 to 1983 the trophy went to running backs and quarterbacks have won 9 of 10 times since 2000.

2009 is the weirdest field of Heisman finalists in recent memory for many reasons. Last August when the hype machine cranked up, a holy triumvirante of quarterbacks were everyone’s Heisman favorites. Each led a pre-season top 5 team and two were former winners, unprecedented in the age of NFL millions. Last year’s winner Bradford was the first to take a bow, an injured shoulder in the opening game followed by a re-injury to end the season. Despite statistically weaker years, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow remained on the Heisman radar thanks to leading undefeated squads into December. Of the two, Tebow’s candidacy was the weaker following unimpressive play in the SEC Championship game loss. McCoy’s chances remain viable, but only due to a lucky 1 second being put back on the clock to save the Big 12 Championship. Both made the list of finalists, but the way in which they did makes their appearances odd. Tebow almost certainly won’t win and has to face the world after his tearful exit last week. McCoy is still a viable winner, but his slow start to the season and rocky end makes his chances slim. Each candidacy is buoyed by exposure and little else, Tebow the former winner, McCoy the standout QB on an undefeated team. The rest of the 2009 field is downright odd.

Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska is the most unlikely candidate of all. Defensive tackle is normally occupied by beefy men that take on blockers and clog running lanes. Not exactly the stuff of Heisman moments. Suh been dominating racking up middle linebacker numbers. His performance in the Big 12 Championship games propelled him into the legitimate discussion and forced voters to take notice* When put in the context of what other defensive lines have produced in terms of tackles, sacks, and passes blocked Suh’s dominance is stunning.

Alabama D-Line: 98 Tkl, 23.5 TFL, 9.5 Sk, 20 QBH, 5 PBU, 0 Int, 1 FF, 3 Blk

Florida D-Line: 112 Tkl, 33 TFL, 14 Sk, 48 QBH, 5 PBU, 0 Int, 1 FF, 0 Blk

Texas D-Line: 116 Tkl, 25.5 TFL, 15.5 Sk, 10 QBH, 7 PBU, 0 Int, 2 FF, 0 Blk

Ndamukong Suh: 82 Tkl, 23 TFL, 12 Sk, 24 QBH, 10 PBU, 1 Int, 1 FF, 3 Blk

The idea of Toby Gerhart as a Heisman winner last August was a pipe dream held in Palo Alto only. After leading Stanford to their first bowl game in 8 years Gerhart made his splash in big wins over USC and Notre Dame. With 1700 yards and 26 touchdowns the invitation has been earned, but that’s not what makes it odd. While it might not be nice to talk about but Gerhart is a Caucasian tailback, something not seen as a Heisman winner since John Cappelletti in 1973. Seventeen running backs have won the prize since 1973 and all of them have been African-American.

Mark Ingram by all means appears to be a traditional candidate. He is the leading rusher on the top ranked team in the country. In big games he has shined and is the projected favorite. What makes Ingram unique is that despite a rich history with 12 National Championships, Alabama has never had a Heisman winner. By comparison, Notre Dame, USC, and Ohio State have 6 Heisman trophies a piece. Although Suh is this man’s choice as “Most Outstanding College Football Player of the Year,” expect Ingram to take home the doorstop on Saturday night.

* The Heisman voters are comprised of 870 individuals, including all living past winners. The entire registration of voters is not known and makes one wonder how many voters are actually informed. Does Rickey Williams actually mail in his ballot?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jealousy is a stinky cologne

Yesterday afternoon Charlie Weis was interviewed by and dropped a bomb on former rival Pete Carroll. In a series of questions regarding Weis’ image and how it was damaged by TV clips of him cussing, the reporter led the fired Weis into a minefield:

Q: “Is it frustrating to you Pete Carroll, for example, portrayed in one way…
CW: “Let me ask you this question: You guys know about things that go on in different places. Was I living with a grad student in Malibu, or was I living with my wife in my house? You could bet that if I were living with a grad student here in South Bend, it would be national news. He’s doing it in Malibu and it’s not national news. What’s the difference? I don’t understand. Why is it okay for one guy to do things like that, but for me, I’m scrutinized when I swear. I’m sorry for swearing; absolve my sins.”

In a Kobe-style snitching, Weis unveiled a raging jealousy for Carrol’s success at USC. Their battles go back to NFL days, most notably from 1997 to 1999 when Carrol was the Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator of the Patriots and Weis was Offensive Coordinator for the Jets. But despite their rivalry laden history, this is a bush-league move by Weis. Last week SI wrote that Weis had actually become likeable because of his failure at Notre Dame. Well not anymore, Weis seems certain he’ll be employed next year, but even Belichick should note the divisiveness Weis’ ego causes.

No word on whether this is true from Carrol or if so, who she is. The Tiger Woods drama has shown us that the American public will consume celebrity affairs to no end. If Carrol’s been fishing off the company pier we will know who. But Weis, WTF?

Schadenfreude Tebow Style

Schadenfreude is a Germanic word that describes the feeling of satisfaction one receives at witnessing the misfortune of others. Despite its roots from a people that consider football to be a no-hands game, Schadenfreude has strong basis in college football. The underdog has been an American rooting favorite since Upset took down Man o War in ye olde times. College football fans not only follow suit and often pull for the underdog in a neutral game, but more fervently cheer against the successes of their most hated rivals. With the advent of ESPN, the 24 hour hype machine, fans often find themselves saturated with coverage of the best teams. A few years ago you could watch ESPN, not just SportsCenter, but PTI, Cold Pizza, Around the Horn, and catch a USC Trojans story every 15 minutes. Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush highlights and glowing reports on Pete Carrol dominated the airtime. Lately it has been the Florida Gators, starting with the live coverage of the 2007 Spring Game and ending last night. Tim Tebow has emerged as the biggest story in college football in years and commands boatloads of attention from the talking heads in Bristol. It’s hard to imagine a Tennessee, Georgia, or Florida State fan not resenting The Network and their colleagues on CBS for developing an obsession with Tim Tebow.

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Last night’s loss was stunning, not because the Gators were upset by an inferior team. In all facets of the game Bama took control from the opening whistle. The loss was stunning because the Gators and Tebow had been lifted to a mythical status and certainly couldn’t get their asses handed to them. Well they did, and certain corners of the college football world rejoiced at the end of an era. Tebow’s tears only raised the level of Schadenfreude, not only in Tuscaloosa, but Knoxville, Athens, Tallahassee, Norman and elsewhere. The rest of us hope for a measure of parity on the national scene for a few years to avoid the disturbing trend of ESPN appearing to sponsor the reigning college football dynasty program.

The clarinet player got crap after losing the National Championship last year

Wonder how many of these are being made today?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mac vs. PC

One of the more recent Mac vs. PC ads depicts a mockery of the upgrades and issues addressed by the Windows team over the years. The ad also takes a subtle dig at Microsoft’s business image with the actor appearing in a series of dated suit styles topped by an awful mid 80’s look. The Apple counterpart, the kid from “Dodgeball,” maintains a classic jeans and t-shirt style throughout. A random review of two pictures of the early architects of each empire reveal Apple to be the more guilty of the crimes of the time.

Steve Wozniak is the jolly fellow on the left with the Apple belt buckle. Steve Jobs, the once ousted, since reinstated wizard of Mac sports the Marty McFly look, complete with popped collar. Some how, some way, the popped collar look went dormant from approximately, September, 1991 to sometime in the middle of the last decade. Unfortunately when it returned, it did so with disastrous results.

Meanwhile, Bill Gates and his early partner Steve Allen keep it plain with nothing to mock but their blandness. Allen’s beard gets him respect, as does his post-Microsoft acquisitions. He bought an NFL team and an NBA team, and apparently likes big boats.

116 Felony Convictions

Mr. Wendell S. Anglin, pictured above is 41 years old with 11 years left in the Florida Department of Corrections. He entered prison to begin his fourth stint in December 2006. That means at 38 years old, with 20 years as an adult, ol’ Wendell racked up an impressive 5.8 felony convictions per year. The numbers are a bit skewed by 100 convictions for Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification on November 28th 2006. Nonetheless, bearing a swastika tattoo, grim reaper and “Down-N-Dirty” across the belly, Mr. Anglin was destined for infamy. Perhaps the destiny is deeper than tattoo needles, Wendell shares the famous last name of two of the only Alcatraz Prison escapees.

On June 11, 1962, John Anglin and his brother Clarence, along with inmate Frank Morris made their famous great escape from “The Rock.” With an elaborate tunneling system, the three men disappeared from their cells and were never heard from again.

Whether the men escaped to give the earthy progeny like Mr. Wendell Anglin is anyone’s guess. It is possible, Wendell was born in 1969, 7 years after the escape. The only clue other than the common last name is on their resume; John Anglin was an alumni of the Florida State Penitentary, just like Wendell.